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Traditions & CelebrationsWashington Montessori School
New Preston, Connecticut

Over the years, several all-school gatherings and traditions have evolved at WMS. These ceremonies strengthen our school culture, nurture the authenticity of our community and signal what we value as a school.

Opening Bell

We usher in each new year school year at the Opening Bell ceremony, which is held on the first Monday of the school year. Middle School students lead a procession, and other levels join in until the entire school community is walking together. The procession leads to a brief ceremony in the theater where the Head of School welcomes everyone to the new year.

The Winter Solstice ceremony takes place on the last day of school before winter break and recognizes the many ways in which the winter season is and has been celebrated throughout the world across different cultures. Though the ceremony varies slightly from year to year, there are certain aspects that remain consistent. The evergreen spiral that the oldest and youngest student travels through, the re-enactment of “The Friendly Beasts,” and the Storyteller are enduring parts of the ceremony.

We celebrate Earth Day by gathering as a school community either in the Peace Garden or the Lower Playing Field.

Every April Upper Elementary students spend one morning visiting other classrooms and offices to recite poems they have memorized.

In recognition of the Lunar New Year, Lower School students put on their own parade throughout the school. They visit all the other classrooms while ringing bells and wearing masks to usher in the new year.

A beloved tradition at WMS is Grandparents & Special Friends Day celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day.

Field Day brings together students and teachers from Lower El through Middle School for a day of friendly competition, sportsmanship and camaraderie. Students come to Field Day ready for fun—sporting bright face paint, colorful banners and spirit wear. It’s hard to say which Field Day event is the most popular, but the three-legged race, the “Boot, Scoot and Boogie,” and the team relay are certainly contenders.

The Moving Up ceremony is held on the last day of school and celebrates the students who are transitioning from one level to the next. Each level of students has its own special part of the ceremony. Lower School students who are moving up to Lower Elementary perform a Maypole dance, Lower Elementary students moving up to Upper Elementary perform a contra dance, and Upper Elementary students moving up to Middle School perform a traditional Celtic sword dance.

As graduation approaches, our 8th-grade students are tasked with writing their own autobiographies. This assignment offers students a chance to reflect at a time of their lives when reflection is both natural and important. Once completed, the autobiographies are on display in the main hallway for all parents and students to enjoy. Reading through the autobiographies has become an important end-of-year ritual.

In memory of Teddy Ebersol ’04 who said “The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race” during his WMS graduation speech, WMS graduates now literally step across a finish line to symbolize that they are ready for the next challenge.

© 2004 Teddy Ebersol